The National Sample Survey is a multi stage, multi subject, and multi purpose cross sectional survey, conducted annually. The objective of this paper in the National Medical Journal of India is to inform the reader about the planning and execution of the National Sample Surveys and their potential use in public health research.

The sampling methodology is described in detail to enable readers to understand it and replicate it in research. Further, as there appears to be limited experience in the translation of raw unit level data into formats that can be used for research, this paper describes how such translation can be achieved to enable researchers to make greater use of this rich source of data.